But I will send a fire upon Teman
A principal city of Edom or Idumea, so called from Teman a grandson of Esau, ( Genesis 36:11 ) . Jerom F24 says there was in his time a village called Theman, five miles distant from the city Petra, and had a Roman garrison; and so says Eusebius F25; who places it in Arabia Petraea; it is put for the whole country; it signifies the south. So the Targum renders it,
``a fire in the south.''
The "fire" signifies an enemy that should be sent into it, and destroy it: this was Nebuchadnezzar, who, as Josephus F26
says, five years after the destruction of Jerusalem led his army into Coelesyria, and took it; and fought against the Ammonites and Moabites, and very probably at the same time against the Edomites: which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah
another famous city of the Edomites; there was one of this name in Moab; either there were two cities so called, one in Edom, and another in Moab; or rather this city lay, as Jarchi says, between Edom and Moab; and so sometimes is placed to one, and sometimes to another, its it might belong to the one and to the other, according to the event of war. It is the same with Bezer in the wilderness, appointed a Levitical city, and a city of refuge, by Joshua, ( Joshua 20:8
) ; and belonged to the tribe of Reuben; but being on the borders of that tribe, and of Moab and Edom, it is ascribed to each, as they at different times made themselves masters of it. It is the same with Bostra, which Ptolemy F1
places in Arabia Petraea; and being on the confines of Arabia Deserts, and surrounded on all sides with wild deserts, it is commonly spoken of as situated in a wilderness, Jerom F2
speaks of it as a city of Arabia in the desert, to the south, looking to Damascus; and, according to the Persian F3
geographer, it is four days' journey southward from Damascus; and Eusebius places it at the distance of twenty four miles from Adraa or Edrei. The destruction of this place is prophesied of by Jeremiah, ( Jeremiah 48:24
) ( 49:13
) ; and perhaps these prophecies were accomplished when Nebuchadnezzar made war with the Ammonites and Edomites, as before observed; or however in the times of the Maccabees, when Judas Maccabeus took this city, put all the males to the sword, plundered it, and then set fire to it, which literally fulfilled this prophecy,
``Hereupon Judas and his host turned suddenly by the way of the wilderness unto Bosora; and when he had won the city, he slew all the males with the edge of the sword, and took all their spoils, and burned the city with fire,'' (1 Maccabees 5:28)
It was afterwards rebuilt, and became a considerable city; in the time of the above Persian geographer F4
, it had a very strong castle belonging to it, a gate twenty cubits high, and one of the largest basins or pools of water in all the east. In the fourth century there were bishops of this place, which assisted in the councils of Nice, Antioch, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, as Reland F5
observes; though he thinks that Bostra is not to be confounded with the Bezer of Reuben, or with the Bozra of Moab and Edom; though they seem to be all one and the same place.
F24 De locis Hebr. fol. 95. B.
F25 Onomast. ad vocem (yaiman) .
F26 Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.
F1 Geograph. l. 5. c. 17.
F2 De locis Hebr. in voce "Trachonitis", fol. 95. B.
F3 Apud Calmet, Dictionary, on the word "Bosor".
F4 Apud Calmet, ut supra.
F5 Palestina Illustrata, tom. 2. l. 3. p. 666.